Tag Archives: copyright

google, bookended

As she most skillfully elucidates, I present Ursula, vindicated:

And the sneakiest gambit is that of talking as if only orphaned books are being illegally digitalized. All the time the Settlement has been in the courts, Google has been blithely going ahead digitalizing any book it wanted without obtaining permission, let alone contractual terms. (I can attest to this, since they have thus pirated several of my books, with no attempt whatever to contact the publishers, my agent, or myself — none of whom are exactly hard to locate.)

Such methodical theft looks like more than corporate indifference to the law. It looks like a deliberate effort to destroy copyright. In other words, the corporation would like to do away with the concept of workers getting a fair share of the profit from their work.

That would “be good” for the corporation. Not good for the worker, the writer — or for readers, or for anybody else.

And yes, I have a gmail account, proving Ursula’s point #1. So there.

corporatizing copyright

Ursula Le Guin has some stones.  This whole Google digital books settlement is a bit complicated, but it boils down to something more than opting in and out for the authors.  It’s about signing away your authorship, and forcing companies like the great and powerful Goog to negotiate with you before you do so and not after they’ve been caught.  Le Guin says it better:

The “opt-out” clause in the Settlement is most disturbing:

First, it seems unfair that, by the terms of the class-action settlement, authors can officially present objections to the Court only by being “opted in” to the settlement and thereby subjecting themselves to its terms.

Second, while the “opt-out” clause appears to offer authors an easy way to defend their copyright, in fact it disguises an assault on authors’ rights. Google, like any other publisher or entity, should be required to obtain permission from the owner to purchase or use copyrighted material, item by item.

The free and open dissemination of information and of literature, as it exists in our Public Libraries, can and should exist in the electronic media. All authors hope for that. But we cannot have free and open dissemination of information and literature unless the use of written material continues to be controlled by those who write it or own legitimate right in it. We urge our government and our courts to allow no corporation to circumvent copyright law or dictate the terms of that control.

Google has some stones as well, dictating the terms of their own settlement to authors of works they’ve digitized without consent.  Perhaps Google is trying to claim some sort of perverted sense of fair use by chumming with libraries to assist in their digitization without bothering to negotiate with authors and forking out the dough to buy the item they want to scan from Amazon or AbeBooks.

copyright

Found this on LibraryThing.  Looks essential for us library types.  Author used to be at my old institution. Now at Columbia.

privacy: or, google, thou art now a ‘brary

Still trying to wrap my head around this whole YouTube ruling.  Especially in light of what Congress, now with a single digit approval rating, has just decided with respect to telecom immunity.  What is clear, infopeeps, is its similarity to the situation faced by libraries since 9/11: requests for patron circulation habits and records.

Quick…blame Jon Stewart!

The order comes as part of a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought against YouTube’s owner, Google, by Viacom, the media company that owns large cable networks such as MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. Viacom alleges that YouTube encourages people to upload significant amounts of pirated copyrighted programs and that users do so by the thousands, profiting YouTube and Google. It wants to prove that pirated videos uploaded to the site — video clips of Jon Stewart‘s “The Daily Show,” for instance — are more heavily viewed than amateur content.

The article goes on to mention the staedfast assurances that Viacom will not go after individual users, but rather compare copyrighted vs. non-copyrighted content, Google has taken the library stance:

“We are pleased the court put some limits on discovery, including refusing to allow Viacom to access users’ private videos and our search technology,” Google senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera said in a statement. “We are disappointed the court granted Viacom’s overreaching demand for viewing history. We will ask Viacom to respect users’ privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them under the court’s order.”

Nice middle road approach, I suppose.  But how reliable is that anonymizing?

But making the records anonymous is not fail-safe. In 2006, an AOL researcher inadvertently posted three months’ worth of searches typed in by 650,000 anonymous AOL users. Although their identities were masked — each user was given a randomly generated unique identification number — the search terms, which included names, home towns and interests, could be collated and used to identify a person, as an enterprising New York Times reporter showed.

Forget IP information, user addresses, and unique logins for a second. Did anyone even consider that one’s search terms can be studied to understand online research/viewing patterns?  Subtle and far fetched, perhaps, but it is indeed a behind-the-scenes method for piecing together a user’s zigsaw puzzlery of searching patterns.

Disturbing thought…will this decision get society, and ultimately librarians (preferably in reverse order) to shift this debate focusing on clarifying copyright before it’s necessary to invade privacy?  We’re a motley lot, us ‘brarians…do we have the attention span for that? I guess it’s just easier for Viacom to get the data than think about fair use.  Does ALA have a response to the ruling?

Meld this to your minds, infomaniacs…is it not ironic how fake news so powerfully informs people to the extent they are frenzied to embrace such online havoc?

Jon Stewart is powerful indeed.